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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 14, 2011 at 4:56 PM

AG Rob McKenna opposes tolling, long-term-care initiatives

Posted by Andrew Garber

Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who is running for governor in 2012, said Friday he opposes Tim Eyman's tolling measure and SEIU's initiative to reinstate training requirements for long-term-care workers.

"I will vote no on both. SEIU's (initiative) is not funded, and the state budget has no money for it, as Gov. Gregoire has pointed out. Eyman's bans variable tolling, which actually is a good tool to reduce congestion and allocate scarce capacity," McKenna said in a statement.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, who's also running for governor, quickly sent out a statement opposing I-1125 when contacted earlier this month. But the campaign declined comment about I-1163 on Friday. The measure is financed almost entirely by SEIU, one of the largest unions in the state.

McKenna's staff said he's undecided about the Costco-backed liquor privatization initiative, I-1183.

Inslee's office said the Congressman does not have a position on that measure either, but will likely come out with statements on both initiatives at some point.

I-1125 would require the Legislature, not the state Transportation Commission, to set tolls, and mandate that a toll on a particular road or bridge be used only for construction, operation or maintenance of that project. Tim Eyman is the sponsor, and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman the main financial backer.

I-1163 would require background checks and training for long-term-care workers and providers. It essentially would reinstate a measure approved by voters in 2008 that was delayed by the state Legislature because of budget shortfalls.

I-1183 would kick the state out of the liquor business and allow grocery stores to sell spirits.

McKenna's campaign earlier this month declined comment on I-1125, saying that the attorney general had to defend initiatives and couldn't address the issue. However, when it was pointed out that McKenna opposed I-1000 in 2008, he agreed to give his position on this year's initiatives. I-1000, approved by voters, legalized assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

McKenna opposed I-1000 during a 2008 debate, saying: "Whenever I'm asked my position on an initiative, as attorney general -- even while I was a candidate as attorney general -- I'll always say I'll tell you what I'm going to do in the voting booth, how I'm going to vote. But I don't campaign. I don't go out and take high profile public positions on initiatives ... I'm going to vote against initiative 1000. I feel there is too much risk of abuse and I think there's very good end-of-life care available."

You can hear his full statement on the TVW clip from the 2008 debate below:


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Forget asking Inslee for positions on issues, you can cut out the middleman and just ask Pelosi. Afterall Jay voted 99% of the time with Democrat...  Posted on October 17, 2011 at 1:22 PM by Dowdevil. Jump to comment
I expected nothing less of McKenna. He has shown ample of times that he thinks thru issues and makes his decision regardless whether this aligns...  Posted on October 16, 2011 at 6:36 PM by Objection 1. Jump to comment
peppermint_patty “But non of the committee members have any special expertise to explain why they are on the committee.” But...  Posted on October 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM by Streetsmart. Jump to comment